Dianne Russell – Mel Brown

Diane Russell was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She began to paint while attending Portland State University, and studied illustration at Parsons School of Design in New York. After graduating she returned to Oregon, where she has lived and worked as a professional artist for over 30 years. Diane began her professional career as a fashion illustrator, and over time her art has evolved towards portraiture.

Many of her paintings reflect her passion for music and dance, as well as people from all walks of life. Her portraits capture more than a likeness, they bring to light the inner soul. Diane uses her own photos as reference; then goes beyond the photograph to bring the portrait to life on canvas. Diane paints with M. Graham oil paints, using only pure paint with a touch of linseed oil, which she applies in many thin layers to achieve the vibrant and translucent color in her paintings.

Clients include the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, the Blues Foundation, Pendleton Woolen Mills, and Palmer/Pletsch Publications. Her work appears on the 2005 W.C. Handy Blues Awards poster, CD and book covers, and in private and corporate collections across the country. Diane is a member of the Portrait Society of America, the Blues Foundation, the Cascade Blues Association, and the Jazz Society of Oregon.

This painting of Mel Brown was taken from one of Dianne’s photographs of his weekly performances at Salty’s and Jimmy Mak’s in Portland, Oregon. While well known in Oregon, Mel has played and traveled worldwide, including many years with Motown. He is an accomplished musician and teacher, and in recognition of his contributions to the cultural life of Oregon, he received the Governor’s Arts Award in 2002. Labeled the “Gentleman of Jazz”, his career has spanned over 40 years.

For more information about this artist and her work visit Dianne’s website.

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